Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tunguska Event: The Threat Of Small Asteroids

BEWARE the blast from above: small asteroids that explode before they hit the ground may be more dangerous than we thought.
Asteroids a few tens of metres in diameter rip through the atmosphere at between 40 and 60 times the speed of sound, and many explode before they hit Earth. Extreme friction and heating can cause these asteroids to flatten into pancakes, which increases drag even more and eventually tears them apart. The resultant "airburst" is thought to be behind the 1908 Tunguska explosion in Siberia, which levelled 2000 square kilometres of forest.

Currently our equipment used in tracking meteors and astroids can only detect those objects that are bigger than 140 meters across. According to new research published in New Scientist concerning the 1908 Tunguska event, an object as small as 30 meters across cleared over 2,000 square kilometers and that same 30 meter wide astroid could easily wipe out a million people and we currently have no way of tracking objects that small.

You can read more on the new research here.

You can read more on the Tunguska event and its many theories here.

Some questions:
-Do you think that events like this should concern us?
-What should we, as people, do to prepare for such events?
-Do you think this is what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah?
-Do you think such an event as this could change the history of the world if say Washington D.C. was hit?
-What can we learn from the Tunguska event?

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